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Minimum viable process doesn’t mean no process!

Blog posted by: Lisa Hodges – Principal Consultant, Cornerstone Service Management, 07 January 2020.

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Organizations are now reacting to the need for high-velocity IT (HVIT) by exploring customer experience and methods like DevOps and Agile.

In some of the more mature enterprises, they’re looking at ITIL 4 and recognizing elements of modern service management, but without formal guidance. And these more mature organizations are in the minority.

The challenge is very much about how to balance what was previously the absolute solution to service management (i.e. processes) and HVIT, without hampering the ability to move forward.

However, this poses an even bigger risk for less mature organizations: unable to overcome feelings of bureaucracy and unnecessary process, they decide to discard the previous best practice approaches in favour of Agile and DevOps.

Lisa HodgesIn doing so, what they’re ignoring are the well-defined, well-understood and repeatable processes as the necessary foundation needed before heading in a new direction. This is the sensible starting point for HVIT (though not the end point).

If your organization already has Lean, optimized processes then you are a candidate for automation – that’s what HVIT requires. But it’s not enough to have no processes; having sound service management processes in places means there are certain things you can stop doing safely.

Let’s face it, ITIL v3 processes were very disciplined about change enablement because there were so many gaps in other areas. By having areas shored up already, you know it’s safe to move on to new ways of working, but not just because the previous ways are “old and out of date”.

Without a firm foundation, you’re “leaning out” chaos! And you can’t automate that.

ITIL 4 – creating coherence from chaos

Introducing ITIL 4 to address these issues is useful, as it’s good at being inclusive and considering other methods/frameworks while re-using proven practices and principles.

In its four dimensions of service management, the processes haven’t gone away but have evolved into Practices, which are beyond the previously siloed process domains. And the processes are now enhanced through the addition of value stream and other elements.

By adding the value streams, you begin to think horizontally across silos of specialization while coordination and collaboration help to respond to the HVIT world.

HVIT can’t be chaos, so ITIL 4 gives us the elements of what well-orchestrated connections look like.

ITIL 4 in practice

Similar to Formula 1 race team technicians in the pits, IT specialists need to work together like a well-oiled machine, at speed, scale and not in a linear way; rather working in concert with the right processes in place.

Unfortunately, organizations spend millions of dollars buying technology – the tool that “will fix everything” – but struggle to free up their people to re-design and improve work processes.

Instead, they need to find ways to liberate people to figure out what they can safely stop doing while “leaning”, optimizing and applying tools to processes. People are the key – with open minds and a willingness to learn and apply the techniques and methods so important for the survival of the organization.

ITIL 4 is like a roadmap for all the elements of HVIT, helping organizations compress the timeframe to develop a HVIT environment and ensure both their survival and prosperity.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by Lisa Hodges

ITIL: bridging the gap between IT services today and tomorrow

Built on ITIL: a service management foundation for the future

Five ways for project managers to start realizing benefits

How to be ready: the need for speed in ITSM 2018

Enterprise service management: deploying ITSM without the IT

Bi-modal/two-speed IT: the chaos with traditional and agile projects

PMBOK and PRINCE2®: how Project Managers can survive in an agile world


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